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Appendix 2 allows the reader to judge in what degree Honduras is typical of developing countries. For 1966 the crude birth rate of Mexico was 43.96 against Honduras' 44.20; death rates were 9.61 and 8.67 respectively.
Especially for death rates, such comparisons are best standardized for age. The Appendix shows what crude rates would be for the several countries if they preserved their age-sex-specific rates but had the age-sex distribution of the United States in 1960. We find for instance that Honduras goes up to 16.44 against Mexico's 13.33, whereas Sweden was 31.11.
Effects of Immediate Drop to Stationary Birth Level
A stationary population is ultimately inevitable. Let us see what would happen if the age-specific birth rates were to drop immediately to the level that would assure a stationary population in the long run. I have made the calculation for the United States, using 1966 data, on the supposition that for each age of mother the birth rate falls in the same proportion, so that though the total childbearing is reduced, the observed pattern of births by age is retained. Death rates that are exactly those of 1966 are assumed to continue indefinitely. The question is what happens as the population is projected forward under these conditions by perfectly standard methods (2).
It would grow for a long time. At first the growth would be at the rate of about 15 million per decade. Even the first decade of the 21st century would show a growth of 10 million, and only after that would the pace slow down. The ultimate stationary population of just under 260 million would be reached about the year 2031. We have the remarkable result that applying the birth rates of a stationary population in 1966 would still allow an increase of over 30 percent from the 1966 total of 196 million.
If one wanted to hold the population down to its present size, on the argument that our present population-related problems are sufficient, we would have to persuade people initially to drop their births to a rate well below that of replacement, indeed to cause them to have no more births than would replace the actual deaths as these occurred. One would take the view that there is only so much land, water, air, minerals, and other facilities, and set the birth target so that each individual who died would be replaced. I do not know that anyone has seriously argued that at the present time this is the appropriate policy, but with high enough density it could come to be so. Precisely in order to avoid such a requirement at some time in the future, it seems necessary to put the brakes on now (3).
The 30 percent by which the United States population would increase if its birth rate immediately fell to replacement level is not a universal constant, but depends on present and past births. For the countries of Europe, with lower birth rates and hence older populations than the United States, the increase would be less, typically about 20 percent. For the less developedHilton Salhanick has observed that some women practicing the rhythm method will break or lose their thermometers at the critical juncture in theirright, therefore alwayshas some c